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I suppose we've all been laughing in disbelief at the story of Barry Chambers, the 27-year-old suspected car-thief who climbed up a drainpipe and stubbornly refused to come down from the roof of a house in Gloucester for the rest of the day.
Police cordoned off the area in Midland Road as Chambers dismantled a chimney and hurled bricks at officers and passers-by. He was first given a pack of cigarettes and a can of Pepsi, but he said that wasn't enough and got a two-litre bottle instead. Minutes later, police used a cherry-picker to deliver a family-sized Kentucky Fried Chicken meal. He ate most of it, threw some chips over the roof, and then lay down for a nice little snooze.
Eventually he came down, and is now being questioned.

A police spokeswoman said "Although he was on the roof being a nuisance, we still have to look after his well-being and human rights."
Well, that's splendid. Can't have suspected car-thieves going hungry, can we? But what does this mean for the rest of us who earn our livings in a rather more conventional manner? Don't we have human rights too? Does it mean that anyone who places themselves out of reach of the normal means of sustenance can expect the emergency services to feed us in order to preserve our human rights? I presume that since we haven't done anything wrong, or aren't suspected of doing anything wrong, we ought to have rather more human rights than Barry - certainly not less. Can't we get the police to pop round with a pizza?
So here's my proposal. The GOS, as our regular readers may know, is a keen sailor. The next time he sails out to sea in his little boat and gets becalmed, so that he faces a tedious five- or six-hour drift before he can slowly make his way home again, he'll call up the coastguard. I imagine the conversation will go something like this
GOS: Hallo, is that the Coastguard? This is the yacht "Grumpy Sue", about five miles East by Nor'east of Burnham.
Salty Old Coastguard: Receiving you, Grumpy Sue. What's the problem?
GOS: There's no wind, and it's going to take me hours to get home.
SOC: Are you actually in any danger? Is the sea rough?
GOS: No, it's a flat calm.
SOC: Are you drifting into danger - onto rocks or something?
GOS: No. I could be eaten by a shark, I suppose.
SOC: How big's your boat?
GOS: Fifteen feet. That's about two mouthfuls for a Great White.
SOC: There's never been a Great White Shark off Burnham.
GOS: No, I know. But suppose this was the first time one turned up. You'd be responsible, because you didn't help me. Are you prepared to take that risk?
SOC: Frankly, yes, I am. Now is there anything else I can help you with?
GOS: I'm hungry.
SOC: Didn't you take any food with you? You surely didn't go out to sea with no food on board?
GOS: Mrs.Grumpy made me some sandwiches, but I ate those ages ago. Now I'm hungry again.
SOC: What do you expect me to do about it?
GOS: Could you telephone the lifeboat and get them to bring me some food?
SOC: Of course I can't. Lifeboats are for saving people's lives when they're in danger, not for delivering take-aways.
GOS: What about my human rights? I have a human right to food and drink. Look, I happen to know there's a McDonald's almost next door to the lifeboat station. A Big Mac would go down a treat. I have a right to a Big Mac.
SOC: Do you want fries with that?


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